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What Do You Want Your Kids to Remember Most About Easter?

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We moved into a new house about six months ago, which means we’ve been unpacking boxes for oh … about six months. The unmarked boxes are my favorite because it’s like Christmas wondering what will be inside when we open them. Now that we’re finally feeling more settled on the inside of the house, my husband and I decided it was time to address the outside this past weekend. As he headed off with his chainsaw to tackle the dense wooded areas, I went to the garage to look for something to put weeds in as I pulled them. I glanced around the garage and my eyes quickly landed on the perfect bucket, three of them, in fact. They were my kids’ Easter baskets stacked in the corner: a blue one, a white one, and a pink one. (Not sure why they ended up there when we moved, but there they were.)

Now, just in case you’re envisioning beautifully woven wicker Easter baskets—don’t. These are just plastic pails with a handle and some sort of Easter décor stamped on the outside. I bought them super cheap at the grocery store when my kids were very young and wrote their names on them with a Sharpie. (That’s as close as I’ll ever get to monogramming anything.) I grabbed the white bucket without thinking much about it and off I went to pull weeds.

It was about my third bucket of weeds that I sat back and looked at my son’s name written across his Easter pail. I let my mind go back to family egg hunts and Sunday dinners, the huge egg dashes at the church, early mornings digging through goodies, new, brightly colored outfits, lining the kids up to take their picture… so many sweet, sweet memories.

Then I thought about what Easter Sunday will look like this year, now that my son will be 20 next month, followed by sisters of 18 and 15. I’ll still fill their pails with goodies (after I wash away the weeds, of course), but my son will be at his church, in his college town of Athens, Georgia, where he leads a high school small group. My girls’ Easter outfits will have been replaced with t-shirts representing the environments where they serve at our church. A lazy afternoon, picnicking on the bank of the lake is more our speed now rather than an egg hunt and a big dinner.

Many traditions have come and gone, but one thing—the most important thing—remains …

The true story of Easter.

While there will be no egg hunt or frilly dresses in our home this year, it will still be Easter because there will be the story.

The story of how the Son of God became a man,
a friend,
a teacher,
a healer,
a sacrifice,
all so we can know God and be with Him forever.

As I sat and looked at that bucket filled with weeds, I said a thank you to God for all the memories and for helping us focus on what mattered most: the one thing that we wanted our kids to carry in their hearts forever.

Jesus is God’s Son.
He loved.
He died.
He lives.

If you’re a parent of a young child, it may be hard to imagine an Easter without egg hunts and a house filled with family. I get it. I never imagined I’d be using my son’s Easter basket to hold weeds one day. But the day will come when your traditions will have slowly transitioned into new ways to celebrate, and you’ll be left with what you valued most over the years you had with your kids.

So what do you want your kids to remember most about Easter? If you choose for it to be God’s story of salvation, I promise you won’t feel the tiniest bit bad about there being weeds in their baskets because of the immense joy you’ll have knowing God’s story is in their heart.

Posted by Pastor Wayne with 0 Comments

5 Rules We Gave Our 13-Year-Old When She Joined Instagram by Jon Acuff

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I had a whole lot of ideas about raising a teenager in a social media world right up to the moment that I actually had a teenager in a social media world.

When my 13-year-old daughter wanted to join Instagram, we didn’t treat it like a casual experience. It was to be her first foray into the world of social media. I knew the potential for fun and the peril for mistakes that using a social media app represented.

But I also don’t believe the Internet is an evil devil machine designed to ruin our kids. All too often the media only hypes that bad moments, completely ignoring the great things that happen when you teach your kid a healthy approach to technology.

In order to help L.E. with Instagram, we gave her five simple rules:

1. THE ACCOUNT STAYS PRIVATE.

There are a lot of points that can be argued about social media, but this one feels very clear to me. There is absolutely zero reason for a 13-year-old to have a public Instagram account. Unless the 13-year-old is a cutting edge tech startup CEO running a million dollar business, they aren’t using social media to build a platform. They are using it to connect with friends. The account stays private.

2. THE PASSWORDS ARE SHARED.

Whenever I hear a friend say, “My son won’t give me his Instagram password” or “My daughter won’t let us follow her” I giggle. Unless your kid is paying for their own phone, own data plan and while we’re at it, own room and board, that’s your phone. Imagine if you came home one day and your kid had installed a new lock on their bedroom door. You’d laugh and then immediately remove the lock. The passwords are shared with Jenny and I.

3. ONLY FRIENDS CAN FOLLOW YOU.

Sometimes parents think that if they follow rule 1 and have the account private they’re all set. But that only covers one side of the street, social media goes both ways. I love that L.E. has friends from school, church and her neighborhood who follow her, but she doesn’t need a bunch of strangers monitoring her visual life. Every time someone random requests to follow her, we talk about it. Only friends can follow you.

4. PRIVATE INFORMATION STAYS PRIVATE.

You’d be surprised at how many teens post their phone numbers, addresses and even screenshots of their driver’s license online. Unless we’re on vacation, we also don’t tag our location in the photo. It might seem like a minor thing but the risks of sharing private information online far outweigh any possible benefits. Private information stays private.

5. BATHING SUIT PHOTOS DON’T GET POSTED.

This one might be unique to having a teenage daughter, but as we work toward understanding modesty, we make decisions like this. It’s not about being ashamed of your body or trying to live up to a certain standard of beauty. It’s about realizing that a photo you post can never be deleted. Even if you remove it, it’s now on servers you’ll never have access to. Modesty matters. Bathing suit photos don’t get posted.

Are these all the issues you should think about with Instagram? Of course not, but hopefully they will start the conversation.

Don’t turn your kid loose online and just hope for the best.

Be deliberate. Be involved. Be curious.

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